When is “fake” child pornography legal? Never.
A story out of Lebanon, Ohio, is making national news because the defendant in the case thought that he’d found a clever digital loophole when it came to child pornography. He digitally added photos of a minor female child’s face onto some very adult pornographic images.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) didn’t think this “hack” was legal — and neither did the judge in the case. Consequently, the defendant will be spending the next four years in prison and end up a registered sex offender.
Not the first time someone thought a creative approach would be legal
It’s likely that the Lebanon man got a lenient sentence because he admitted in a plea deal that the images he made “lacked any serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value and were obscene.”
That argument had already been tried in a similar case back in 2016, when the federal government prosecuted a 61-year-old man who had done the same thing with roughly 25,000 explicit images.
He took his case to trial and claimed the federal government was trying to censor what he considered art. The jury was unimpressed — and the defendant was sentenced to 85 years behind bars.
The law treats child pornography crimes extremely seriously
Child pornography charges can end up being prosecuted under either state or federal law, depending on the circumstances. Cases like the two listed above give you an idea of just how little room there is for any creative arguments.
If you’ve been questioned about or charged with making, holding, sending or receiving child pornography, the wisest thing to do is to immediately invoke your right to remain silent. Say nothing until you are alone with your criminal defense attorney and can work on an appropriate strategy for your case.